HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — While many believe the weather is perfect this time of year in Florida, Hillsborough County’s Parks and Rec department has a couple of ways to get you and your family outdoors.
Their annual hiking spree challenge begins Wednesday, Nov. 1, and runs through March 31, 2024.
“It’s basically a five-month long initiative to get citizens and people around Hillsborough County out and enjoying our trails,” Parks and Rec Program Coordinator Mikah Collins said.
Collins said there are 22 parks and preserves around the county.
Multiple of them are at All People’s Community Park in Tampa– which includes a wheelchair-accessible trail.
Based on your selection, your hike can be easy, moderate, or a little tough. County trails range from less than a mile to eight miles.
“The first thing you’ll want to do is register,” Collins said. “You can register at hcfl.Gov.Net/hikingspree and then once you complete your eight or more trails you can go back to that same webpage and fill out your completion form and you’re ready to go to one of our redemption sites and pick up your reward.”
There is a free hiking spree kick-off event this Saturday, Nov. 4 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Edward Medard Conservation Park at 6140 Turkey Creek Road in Plant City.
Collins said the county is also working on the growing demand for pickleball courts– the fastest-growing sport in America right now.
“We have 26 dedicated courts and a bunch of courts that are dual use with tennis and pickleball and it’s still not enough,” Collins said. “We are just trying to build as many as we can.”
The next spot could be at Mango Park in Seffner next to the recreation center, a popular spot for people like Hannah Ockerhaursen to bring their kids and dogs.
“I would love to see pickleball tournaments,” Ockerhaursen said. “That would be cool. Get the community more involved and maybe a little pot for winnings.”
Parks and Rec needs your input on this idea– there’s a meeting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Mango Park Rec Center where you can say where you’d like to see more courts
You can also give your ideas online here through the county’s website.